I am a recent newcomer to the Ashcroft area and I have found the residents around here to be wonderful, friendly and helpful people. I did not get such a warm reception from our Highway Patrol, however. I was driving a rented U-Haul cube van in order to move my belongings to my new home. Two young French-Canadian hitch-hikers needed a ride and as it was a very cold and miserable morning and there was very little traffic on the highway, I decided to give them a ride. (It is my normal habit to help out the less fortunate – the Good Samaritan, eh?) This model of cube van, however, had only one passenger seat. I was pulled over by a police woman who was obviously having a bad hair day. She issued me a ticket for having “too many people’ in the vehicle. She treated us as if we were dangerous criminals! I would have explained that I was taking these people to the Merritt bus station, but I somehow felt it was not too prudent to start an argument with this angry woman with a deadly weapon attached to her hip, not to mention the Gestapo-like attitude to match her Gestapo-like uniform. The fine of $300 seemed way too steep and was certainly a big financial burden on top of all my moving expenses.
As I got to know more people in the area, more stories like this started to emerge… A car driving down the back alley at 15 miles an hour with an unbelted driver (such a heinous crime eh?)… a car failing to come to a “complete stop” at a stop sign on a deserted street in a one-horse town… vehicles being impounded for such minor infractions as a cracked windshield?
Is this really necessary? Do these “peace” officers really believe they are doing a useful job in protecting the citizens? Or is this just a dog-eat-dog cash grab to justify their existence? Was it not this type of mentality that transpired in Germany in the 1930s when armed, uniformed thugs had the authority to arrest innocent people, seize their properties, and throw them into concentration camps because they did not have the correct papers? Hopefully we will not see that in this day and age.
However, it is my humble opinion, as a citizen of Planet Earth, that our Canadian police academies would be doing us all a favour by dropping the Gestapo-style tactics, and teach their students more about a thing called compassion.